tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN April 23, 2014 6:00am-6:58am EDT
the pace of a district court judge is like -- judge's life is non-stop. you are running from, every day, 200 and whatever days a year you work if not more, from one judicial activity to another. you're having hearings, but you're having multitude of different kinds of hearings, whether they're suppression hearings, discovery hearings, plea hearings. i could keep naming them. there's a wide variety of types of interactions that you're having with lawyers and different kinds of legal situations that you're dealing with. this is on top of sitting in on trials where a wide variety of procedures take place that are each different in and of themselves -- picking the jury, working with lawyers on opening statements, the presentation of evidence, the preparation of charges afterwards so that can you tell the jury what it's supposed to do, and then supervising the jury's deliberations.
all of these things are constantly taking you from one point to another. at the end of one activity to another, all day long, at the end of my first year i once said, "i now know why the brain is a muscle. this job has showed me how much it can stretch." there was so much new information my first year on the bench that i was absorbing that i didn't have a headache, i had a head that ached. there's a big difference. that was what continued for my five years on the bench on the district court. you do get to interact with the lawyers in the courtroom. you get to see a lot of human nature in terms of witnesses and
what they're talking about. but the job of a district court judge is to develop a record, to get the evidence out, and then to rule on it. and i've often described their job as doing justice in the individual case. they've got two parties. they have to resolve that dispute according to the law. and so they're worried -- basically their attention is focused on these two people who sit before them. you get on an appellate court and you're no longer the master of your courtroom. you now have to share responsibility with three people. and things that were routine as a district court judge now become a conference.
the first day that i had to confer with my colleagues about giving an extension on the number of pages that somebody's brief had to be, i thought to myself i'm going to hate this job. it seemed like such a silly waste of time. ok? it was a silly waste of time, but, but not institutionally. because that collaborative decision making is what appellate work is about. it's sharing the responsibility of thinking through whether a lower court has made an error of law. and that is a process that takes some of the burden out of judging. because when you can share your thinking and your analysis with two other people and when you can work at convincing them that either you're right or they're wrong or however you want to approach it or them convincing you, it's a very satisfying job. what circuit court judges are doing is more deciding justice for the law.
you see, circuit courts are announcing what the law is for that circuit. there's 13 circuits in the united states. a number of states are divided up among the circuits. mine was three states. but the 9th circuit out in california has nine states. and some -- three i think is the minimum, if i'm remembering correctly. but some have four or five or six. the circuits were divided according to their historical entry into the union. so the second circuit was actually the mother court. we take pride in claiming that we were the first court, the first circuit got started right after us. maybe on the same day, but we still call ourselves the mother court. at any rate, what you're trying
to do is find the legal errors in the decision below. in doing that you're trying to determine what you believe the law is as dictated by precedent. so what happens when you get on the supreme court? if you didn't think you were master of the courtroom when you had three people, when you have nine, you're nothing, alone, because you have to decide something with at least a majority, with five people. convincing five very independent, sometimes hard-headed -- myself included -- people is not an easy -- not an easy task. but what you're doing on a supreme court is announcing what the law says in a case where
precedent doesn't necessarily control. by definition, the supreme court generally only takes, with few exceptions, only takes cases when there's a circuit split. what that means is that circuits below among the 13 have disagreed as to what the answer is under the law. assuming, as i think you should, that most judges, and certainly in panels of three, are trying to do what's right under the law, the fact that they've disagreed means that there's no clear answer. and what you're asking the supreme court to do is to provide that clarity. but that also means that the
responsibility on us is enormous because our decisions generally involve matters that affect not the law of your circuit alone but the law of the country and sometimes of the world. and so the supreme court is really the court operating where there is no clear answer in virtually every one of their cases. there is a real problem relying on the news to tell you what supreme court cases say. and i know we make it a little bit hard because when you pick up our opinions, they tend to be long and they often have a lot of jargan. i encourage you, however, not to rely on the news as citizens. read the opinions. when you do, and if you actually read them with an open mind, you'll often come out saying they both seem right, how can that be? well, that can be because the law is unclear, because precedents don't really settle
that question. and you have to believe, the way i do, that this group of nine are each passionate about trying to find the right answer. and even though we disagree as to what that answer may be or may not be, we all are filled with the same passion. that's how i can stand being, sometimes, on the losing end of a case. >> a more personal question about your day job before i turn to the student questions. what has surprised you about the day job, working with the nine or the kinds of cases that you get? maybe we'll leave it at that. what surprised you?
and five years in, are you doing something different now than you did when you started? >> worrying more. seriously. after you're a judge for 17 years you don't take your responsibilities lightly, but you do understand that you're not the final word, that there are courts ahead of you. if you're on the district court, there's an appellate court. if you're on the appellate court, you know there's a supreme court. so on those unclear cases there's a lot of comfort from knowing that you're not the final word, that if you're wrong, someone can fix it. when you're on that last, final court, you recognize that if you get it wrong, you are really affecting people's lives if not forever for a very, very long time.
it takes a long time for congress if it can at all, to change any statutory decisions we make that they think are wrong. and obviously if we're wrong on our interpretation of what the constitution means, then it takes even longer to undo that if at all. and so the burden of this job and how much i feel it came as an enormous surprise to me. it's not a bad one, but i have more restless nights. >> in a way that i hope will not give you more restless nights, i have some student questions. so i'm going to turn to them now having been instructed that now is the moment to do so. >> ok. i don't know who pointed that out. whoever asked the question --
asks the question, would you please get up? if you're up there, with the lights, i can barely see up there, just say "i'm here" or something like that. at one place i said, "say yo." [laughter] i just like knowing who's asking the question. so i don't want to embarrass you, but please do stand up. >> so the first question is from maria mendoza. hi. >> hello. >> now i feel silly reading her question since she's there. but i will continue on as instructed. hello. her question was, what's the one piece of advice you would tell your younger self as a female? and that's underlined. [laughter] >> not to lack confidence so much. i was afraid an awful lot.
as i have lived to almost get to the age that i am -- if i'm saying it, it's because it's surprising me. and my friends know this. i'm about to turn 60, and i'm shocked. ok? [applause] it's a little disturbing. because the problem is that inside myself, the image i have of me is still that 9-year-old kid with the curls running down that street in puerto rico i end my book with. ok? that's the image i still have of myself and the idea of having grown to what they say is the new middle age is shocking me. ok? but in this i've had a lot of opportunity to talk to a lot of women of all ages, older and younger. i know that for many of us, and it's still a problem, we don't
come to our lives with the same self-confidence that sometimes men do. and i think part of that may be because of societal gender treatment differences. but whatever the causes are, i think women are more afraid of taking chances. if i could talk to the younger sonia, i would spend a lot less time in that state of constant fear, include doing this job. eloise can talk about it. i spent my first year petrified. it takes -- zaps a lot of energy out of you. and i still have moments of it and probably will forever. and i wish i could change that. as i said, embarrassment or the fear of embarrassment holds you
back. and the lack of confidence may not hold you back but it certainly burdens you unnecessarily. >> here's the question from josh. >> josh, where are you? ahh. hello. thank you for being here. >> thank you. >> thank you all for coming. i know i've taken you -- some of you or a lot of you -- from classes. so thanks. [laughter] >> i'll, again, read josh's question. with a career in the law, particularly one which involved so much time on the bench, have you found it appropriate to set goals or are you weary of having an agenda? >> oh, i'm assuming from the question that you're talking about professional goals or goals as a justice. josh? he's shaking his head yes. i don't know if i'm afraid of having an agenda.
i don't think that that's what motivates me against having goals. i think what motivates me is understanding that it's not within my control, meaning we respond to cases as they come to us and it does happen that a lot of those cases are important but when they come and how they come, in what factual setting, is not within our control. and neither is are you going to have colleagues who are going to agree with you. and i think if you're a sensible person, you understand that although you might have confidence in what you think your vision is and what the law should be, you might be wrong. and you should take pause when
people are disagreeing with you to think through carefully their side of things. now, that doesn't mean that principle won't lead you to still disagree. i've had already my fair share of single descents, but i do them because i think there's an important reason to do it. but my point is that i don't think i do it from fear of setting an agenda but more from the recognition that my agenda may not be the best. that's really dangerous to think that you have all the answers. so i do try very hard to grow with my job, to teach -- to deal with each case on its own terms, and to understand each side of the arguments being presented so that i can render a decision based on that set of facts, that issue, and not my idea of what's right or wrong. the most dangerous thing in judging is playing god.
i don't think that there's one salient aspect of anything you do in life that should take over who you are in your work or in your personal life. the person we become is a mesh of a whole bunch of different experiences. who i am as a judge is not sonia from the bronx. ok? [laughter] it is being a prosecutor. it's become a civil litigator. it's being a trial judge. it's being a court of appeals judge. it is all of those things that i learned about, about our society, about how it functions, about our place in. and all of that influences my career and has influenced my career.
i think, and i hope -- you may have gone through my book. but if you didn't and you read it, i wrote it so that people would take my life journey with me, to understand how each stage of my life, what new understandings it gave me and to, i hope, evoke in people as they read it reflections upon what they learned from each part of their life. i talk in the book -- i start the book with describing when i was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes and the discipline and determination that it taught me. and that condition will be with me my entire life. it has been and will be. and that discipline and that determination have been with me and will be. but so has every other experience, whether it's the
sort of love that my grandmother gave me and the understanding of family and loyalty to it that has been a part might have career -- a part of my career in the sense, as the chief judge said, i make time for my family and friends and i was taught that from my childhood. so everything influences you. you can tell i'm very spanish. can't you? i talk with my hands. actually, i don't know if it's only spanish. it's very mediterranean. [applause] >> here's a follow-up question from chris, college 17. [laughter] >> hello, chris.
>> so chris asks, what challenges have you faced reconciling your hispanic background with a traditionally anglo-american institution? he's got a sneaky follow-up, which is, what do you read for pleasure? [laughter] >> there has not been a lot of that. a lot of my reading has been legal reading. if you talk about the times i did pleasure reading, i love sci-fi. i really -- it is a perfect escape from this world, ok? even with all the lectures, lessons it does about human nature -- i just adore it. if it has dragons and elves and dwarves, i like it even more. i was a harry potter aficionado. [applause]
i often think of myself walking to the supreme court -- when you come to see the building, you know what i mean. lots of marble and lots of portraits, mostly of men. not a lot of women except sandra day o'connor up on the walls. i would walk through on the weekends and hear my footsteps on the ground, and think, these paintings are going to talk to me. [laughter] and, you know, it was a little bit scary. i will tell you my favorite story that first year. i came to work one day, and i was leaving to go to a meeting. i walked around the corner and i stopped. there was a stairwell there. i looked at the stairwell. i looked around and i said, did i turn the wrong way? i looked all around, thinking, i am lost. how do i get to my office?
i went back to my office, with my face in a total state of shock. i looked at my assistant, who had been justice souter's assistant at the time. i said, "shelley, i think i am going crazy." she said, "justice, they took the wall down last night." [laughter] they had been doing construction in the building, and they had walls up in places i did not know were artificial balls, you -- walls, you know? i'm so sci-fi is really important to me, ok? [laughter] anyway. but that is what i tend to read. going back to your question, this is a line i say in my book, about talking to hispanic
students who share my background, and who find themselves going into institutions where they are not in the majority, or which are, as princeton was to me, completely alien environments. and i talk about the need to -- to find comfort in your own community, because i do not think that without the latino students in princeton, who had more similar backgrounds to me, that i would have felt at home there at all. and i could not have stayed unless i found commonality somewhere. but i also understood that i was being given an opportunity to learn about a world i knew nothing about, to learn about people who did things and came from places i knew nothing about. and that it was very, very
important for me to use my community as an anchor, so i would not fly away, but not as an anchor that did not let me reach out and fly away when i needed to. it had to be a removable anchor, up and down. it was important to me, when i was there, to be a part of every world i could be, to learn as much about other worlds as i could. and that is how i have navigated. i still do that, you know? i certainly had continuing involvement with the communities i came from. but i also am very and mashed -- enmeshed in the world i am in, and i am navigating and by learning about it, but becoming part of it.
not separate from, but building bridges between the worlds. that is what my book is about, to show the wider world what my life was like, but also to show them the commonalities we have. i cannot tell you how many people from vastly different backgrounds than my own have come to me to share stories about how similar something in their life was. justice ginsburg read my book, as most of us have yet to read anything during the term, with small breaks at a time. she read it in chapters over a series of a few weeks. every time she finished a section, she would come and tell me, share something about her life that is similar. and yet we have very, very
different lives, and yet the same. i hope everybody who reads the book will experience that. that is what the book is about. not to talk about our differences, but to talk about our commonalities. >> here is a question from marta. >> thank you. >> [inaudible] >> she wrote that on a card, and i was going to read it to you. she also wrote a big thank you. her question is, what do you think is the most significant barrier to female and latino leadership? >> it is a slightly different question. not that i have not been asked that before.
i am trying to think, what can i think that is. i think we are getting better at it. but we do not have one culture. we come from very, very different countries and backgrounds that the larger community in the united states paints us with the same brush often does not mean that translates to us feeling like we are one group. we laugh. i was at dinner with some friends the other night, and we were talking about the differences in words that guatemalans, puerto ricans, dominicans, and mexicans use.
those were the people there. and we were having fun trying to figure out each other's words. we were having fun about it, but it is a reflection of the difference in our cultures. i think we are, as communities, going to understand that at least here in america, we have to create our commonality. we have to work toward understanding that that will give us greater strength. and once we do that, i think it will be easier for us to recognize leaders. because until we do that, we will not be able to speak with a common voice. not one voice, by the way. i think that is a mistake. i do not think any ethnic group
speaks in one voice. there are common issues we talk about. if we can do that, leaders will form. >> here is the last student question we have. >> i am going to ask them to pass up some more. >> there is water right now. >> pass up some more questions. i think we are early. pass up some more questions, you guys. [applause] [laughter] >> i need ricky. >> where is ricky? did she leave? pass up some more of those questions. >> i will ask the last question. here is a question from thomas. oh, people.
this is why professors like it when you type your exams. thomas's question is, how has your status as a minority giving you motivation and strength during your professional career? >> thomas, where are you? hello, thomas. >> could you describe your experience? like how do you -- during your undergraduate career, how was your identity as a minority important in terms of integrating yourself? >> i think there are two different questions. your first question, the one on the paper -- i know i use my minority status and people's lack of expectations of me to my advantage. and i still do that.
by that i mean, you will read in my book about my being in law school and being asked by an interviewer whether i felt i had gotten into yale simply because i was a minority. it helped a little bit that i was summa cum laude phi beta kappa from princeton. [applause] and that is what i told him. and i remember being in the courtroom as a district court judge. here i am, all of 38 years old. a young hispanic woman. sitting in a courtroom with an attorney who i know had to have been practicing about 40 years.
and he was treating me dismissively. i could respond to that, or i could do what i did. i kept asking him questions. and i kept asking him questions. and all of a sudden, he who had been standing there, just looking to the side with a note of being exacerbated. all of a sudden, i asked him a question. i saw him turn around and looked up and look at me. i realized he realized, i had better be careful. she's not dumb.
i got his attention all right. i do not worry that much about what others expect of me. i try to worry about what i expect of myself. sometimes, one others expect of me does bring me down. when i do that, i end up not liking myself. i realize i am setting the wrong standard. when i concentrate more on proving what i can do, i am a happier person. i think that is what can give you strength as a minority. it is not to go through life living to the expectations of other people, but just working on advancing yourself.
every step you take to become a better student, to become a better professional, to educate yourself, both in terms of knowledge and skill -- that is what counts. i think that if you are a minority, where people are not having expectations of you, it is really satisfying to prove them wrong. you can take well-earned pride from that. the question you asked when you are standing up was -- you were talking more about, what do you do when you are here, either to take a ride in that identity or to prove it in some way. and i do not think that is a helpful way to look at it all
stop as i explained earlier, i think it is more helpful to think about, how do i build bridges in this larger community? what do i do to learn more about people and community who have lived different lives than me? and how do i share with them the life i have lived, recognizing that both have equal value? if you can do that, you will live in both worlds relatively comfortably. and occasionally still feel a stranger in both. you are at georgetown. if you come from the background i did, you are going to find that people in the communities you came from -- they are going to start treating you differently. the reality is that you are no longer going to be completely like them. you are going to be better
educated. you are going to have more opportunity. in some ways, you are going to speak differently. these are not bad things. this is the reality of the opportunities you have been given. it does not mean you have to feel badly about those things. it means you accept them and give comfort to the people who love you, by reminding them you are there. the first year i was on the supreme court bench -- as you know, i got a lot of public attention. i went to my family holiday party, which my cousin miriam hosts every year. i walked in and sat down. for about 10 minutes, everybody was silent, waiting for me to
talk. and at some point i said to them, [speaking spanish]. [laughter] [applause] what is wrong with you? i said, do not tell me you have fallen for the stories they are telling you out there. they started to laugh and started to do what they always do -- talk over each other, screaming each other. [laughter] i guess they had come to the white house and seen the sworn in at the court. had a reception at the white house. it is a little bit scary, scary for me. imagine for my family, who had never visited washington. i had to take time to remind them that sonia was still sonia. >> i saw two more questions passed up for me. thanks.
ok. so, zaiyajawadi? thank you for reading that. >> you are welcome. he asks, what are your thoughts on the retirement age for supreme court justices? [laughter] >> you know something? when i started my job as a judge, i was 38. and my assistant, teresa, who is still with me, started with me. from the first week or so, the other judicial assistants in the court took her out to lunch. she said, justice -- actually, she called me sonia. sonia, i feel kind of stupid.
would you please tell me what senior status is? every one of those assistants knew when their judge would take senior status to the year, month, week, and day. senior status is when a judge can retire. i looked at her and said, teresa, i am 38. we are far away from thinking about it. it is never going to come. i am now 60. it would be five years away. and now i have a job for life. [laughter] the only person who is a few years away from retiring and takes a job that is longer, but i did. i do not know the answer to that.
i worked with john paul stevens, who retired at 90. he was smarter, more active, and more insightful than any judge i have ever met at 90. and i was heartbroken when he left the bench. but he said to me, when he talked about his decision, that he wanted to leave on top, and not in his declining years. and that he still felt that he was on top, but that he feared that the turn might happen and he would not realize it. justice souter retired at 70. when i asked him why, he said to me, because he had lived at a time when some justices who had
stayed longer than they should have. so what is the answer? it is not making fixed rules, because fixed rules are very, very dangerous. they deprive you of the wisdom and the knowledge of people. because of your fear that one or two people might stay a little longer than they should. we have a vibrant court of nine people. if one of them is a little bit not quite at the top of their game, you have another eight that can hold on until they make their decision with big day. -- with dignity. i think the founder's belief that keeping us immune from political pressure by giving us
life tenure has made our institution as strong as it is. i think that has value for our society. i am not quite sure that i think there is an actual age. the reality is that age tells you nothing about a person's capacity. it is more complex than age. >> i think this really is going to be the last question. >> i know i have probably run over a little bit. i do that all the time, and i am sorry. >> this question is from yvonne hernandez. >> hello. [speaking spanish] >> on the card, how do you build consensus around an idea or a position? >> one at a time. [laughter]
that is seriously. one at a time. it is not easy when you are working with a group of nine. it was much, much easier on the court of appeals. a group of three is more manageable. each person can talk more, longer. and because there is a sense of each being so vital to the conversation that each engages more. when there is nine, there is sort of the group dynamic that smaller groups can support each other around ideas. and that makes it harder to be able to heal off one vote at a time, on occasion. but we end up doing it one
person at a time. sort of talking and re-talking. we do vote on cases, but we continue to talk after the voting in smaller groups. and our writings, as they get circulated, there is still conversation going on. there are still discussions with those people who have expressed doubts or expressed reservations about the votes they have cast. it is a dynamic that is ongoing. frankly until the day the decision is issued. i should not say quite that day. you know when it is finalized? when we clear the decision for announcement. and that is usually the friday conference before the week of announcements. that is basically the end of the conversation. >> this has been an incredible conversation. and in a minute, i know the audience is going to join me in thanking you.
i have been asked to do two more things before i bring the conversation to a close. the first thing is that if i read your name, or if your question was asked, please after the event is over, after you do get a chance to clap, which i know you want to, please come to the front row. the justice is going to come say hello. and the second thing i have an asked to do is to -- >> and take a picture. >> and take a picture. and the second thing i have been asked to do -- i know it kills you -- is to invite professor bailey on to the stage, chair of the government department, who is going to make a few closing remarks. then i know we will all thank the justice with enthusiasm. >> thank you. being here and having this event makes me realize how good we have it here at georgetown. not only do we get the chance to do the theory and the history
and the analysis and so forth, but we really get a chance to see this on a personal level -- see the law, the justices, how it plays out, and the personal connections. that is not what everyone gets to do, so that is pretty neat. not only do we have a good georgetown in general, we in this room have it good that we are getting books. i want to give you a couple notes on how we are going to do that. this set of folks is going to exit first. when everyone else is exiting, you will take your orange ticket, and in the main lobby, we will be distributing a book. you exchange the orange ticket you will take the orange ticket, and in the main lobby we will be distributing books. they have been generously and perhaps laboriously signed by justice sotomayor your.
there are a lot of people to thank for this. we appreciate that. we appreciate the lecture fund students. we appreciate the friends of margot bernstein, who made this possible. i learned when they set this boundia up they basically judge kassman to this. they had the foresight to say he would be involved in this whether or not he was in georgetown. they seemed to know what your future was even back then. that has been very fortunate for georgetown. big thanks to judge kassman for all he has done. fors a huge asset
georgetown and the government department. they q4 really guiding of fun you for really guiding a fun and stimulating event. i am sure everybody joins me in thanking justice sotomayor. the event has been great. [applause] >> you stay at the front and take a picture. >> thank you, and have a good evening.
caller[captions copyright natiol cable satellite corp. 2014] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] >> the supreme court heard the case that will decide the fate asereo. the court is looking at whether those video streams violate copyright law. we will have the oral argument friday at 8 p.m. eastern here on c-span. pledgeddent obama not onlyld and swift, to create new jobs but to lay a new foundation for growth.
passing historic legislation that honors the promises our new president made from the steps of the capitol, promises to make the future better for our children and our grandchildren. only eight days after the president's address, this house will act boldly and swiftly bypassing the american recovery and reinvestment act to create and save 3 million jobs by rebuilding america that is why the bill has the support of 146 eminent economists including five nobel prize winners who, in a letter to congress this week stated," the plan proposes important investments that can start to overcome the nation's damaging loss of jobs. and creating millions of jobs and put the united
states back onto a sustainable long-term growth path. highlights on her facebook page. c-span, created by america's cable companies is 35 years ago and brought to you today as a public service by your local cable or satellite provider. c-span isthis month, pleased to present our winning entries in this year's student cam video documentary competition. student cam is the annual competition that encourages middle and high school students to think critically about issues. students were asked to create their documentary based on the question-what is the most important issue the u.s. congress should consider in 2014? s areirst prize winner eighth-graders at eastern middle school in silver spring, maryland. they want congress to improve the nsa data collecting and
surveillance program. you,ward snowden, thank thank you for bringing to the attention of the world the fact that the u.s. government, the nsa, is engaged in massive information gathering. billion cell phone conversations per month. >> there has been a lot in the media about the situation, some right and a lot wrong. >> the examples i gave you and how important they have been, the first core al qaeda plot to attack the united states post-9/11, we used one of these programs. another plot to bomb the new york stock exchange, we used these programs. now here we are talking about this in front of the world. >> to repeat something incredibly important, the nsa is prohibited from listing the phone calls or reading e-mails of america's without a court order, and of story.
we look forward to your testimony. the nsa, what is it and what does it do? it was hard to answer these questions before edward snowden leaked thousands of detailed classified documents to the public. these documents show the full extent of the nsa surveillance on americans. >> the nsa is doing bulk data collection on american e-mails. it is not limited in scope to terrorists, two spies, two people they have probable cause to believe that they are committing some type of crime. it is a bulk collection of data of americans e-mails. >> that is just one side of the story. many people believe the nsa is doing the right thing under a law calledfisa. doing ishe nsa is trying to implement something called the foreign intelligence surveillance act, fisa, which is
designed to try to capture communications and information from foreigners who are believed to be trying to do harm to americans or the united states. has a lot ofsa problems. i have repeatedly, during my tenure in congress, voted to fisa in and redefine the courts and responsibilities. i think we have more work to do. if anything, all of the news we have all endured over these last months about the national security agency really tells us in a deep way that there are things we have to do to rein in and provide oversight as members of congress in what the responsibilities of the nsa are. method is changed over time with the advancement of technology. the change in technology, the
i don't consider him to be a traitor because i don't think was toent or his purpose harm his country. i don't think that was his intent or it but he clearly violated the law. there are clearly, in my view, better ways for him to have proceeded. >> many people have very different feelings of what edward snowden did. some people consider him a hero and some consider him a traitor. the most important and that edward snowden did is start a conversation. he started a conversation about what our government is doing and how they are spying on us. it's a conversation that america needs to have because people need to talk about where the balance should be. before edward snowden, all we had to go on was the government saying no, we are not collecting our data. we know that is not true. he started a very important conversation. >> the nsa is very